Monthly Archives: October 2012

An Unpinnable Halloween

I believe my daughter is waving to her reflection in this picture, and my toddler is grinning at a stranger in the distance.

I went to bed last night with delusions of grandeur, thinking I would wake up early and surprise the kids with some Pumpkin Pancakes (like these on the Idea Door!).
I woke up tired, grumpy, and late.

I believe my daughter is waving to her reflection in this picture, and my toddler is grinning at a stranger in the distance.

In this picture you’ll notice three girly girls, dressed up in costume. We were so late in getting ready that I missed the chance to take a photo of my son, and my oldest daughter was rushed out the door with her hair in a sloppy ponytail because we couldn’t find the brush and she was going to be late. No time for cute cowgirl braids. As she ran out I admonished, “Keep your hat on so no one sees your hair!”

Nicole, Abigail, and I went to the annual costume parade at the school but got there late, and missed Rebecca actually parading around. Instead we sat in the hallway with her and watched the other children go by on their way back to class, as Rebecca’s class was one of the first to go. (Frankly, I preferred this to getting there super early and waitingwaitingwaiting to catch a glimpse of my kid before she’s gone!)

Oh well. I’m a slacker. I decided I would make a cute little Halloween themed lunch. (These mummy pizzas are adorable, but the cookie cutter pumpkin sandwich is more my lazy style.) I would be awake, alert, and could master a little Halloween fun. We didn’t start school till just before noon and rushed through it before my daughter came home from her short day at school…

… then I realized I was out of bread, so we just reheated baked potatoes for lunch.

Our traditional pre-trick or treating bowl of piping hot chili will be waylaid by the fact that I didn’t have the ingredients for chili on hand.
Carving pumpkins? Didn’t buy ’em.
Decorating the house? Decorations were in storage… sure hope we get our Christmas decor out before February.

This blog is officially unpinnable, as far as this Halloween is concerned.

I’m just keeping it real for you. If you ever feel like less-than-the-best because of those cutesy, crafty moms on Pinterest who deck out their porches and create crafts for the season and bake up a storm, all in the name of enjoying a holiday with their family, I just wanted to let you know: you’re not alone.

Are you a slacker Halloween mom?

FHE Made Easy: October Week 5

If you are using a tablet or an iPad for this lesson, be sure to print out the coloring page ahead of time. (Y0u can print out all the handouts, coloring, printables, and more for the year by buying below!) One thing I love about FHE Made Easy is that it’s so easy to adjust for your family. This lesson is a great launching point for teens to discuss making right and safe choices, but you can also keep it to a primary-and-younger appropriate level.

Week 5: Jaredites Reject the Prophets

FHE Made Easy are weekly family home evening lessons. I post them for free, but you can grab the year of lessons for just $10! The lessons are tablet and iPad ready, just click the links and go. It’s a slacker way to follow the commandment of holding Family Home Evening each week! Buying the whole year makes your Family Home Evening lesson a breeze!

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Just Your Average Family Vacation

Just Your Average Family Vacation

 Last weekend the schools had a five day weekend, which barely makes for a school week if you ask me. Gary’s parents had given him tickets to see Les Misérables at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, and since they have a vacation home in St. George, we spent the weekend down south. I didn’t post about this ahead of time because really, I would hate to waste a thief’s time, tracking my address down to steal all of our stuff, only to find we have nothing worth stealing.
{Dishonest people of the world, you can thank me later.}

Like all good family vacations, our trip was far more complicated than planned. For starters, we left four hours later than planned, and left late at night. Then we made it a grand total of twenty minutes from home before the Suburban started lurching on the freeway, shifting jerkily when there was no need to shift.

Remember in July when I whined constantly about having no car? After a month (the longest four weeks of my life, I kid you not) the temporary solution was getting my husband a motorcycle. I took over his giant Suburban and we hoped and prayed we could figure something out before it grew too cold.

Anyway, there we were on the freeway, in our only family vehicle, afraid to go further south and further from civilization. We opted to putter our way slowly back home. Gotta tell you, waking kids up to tell them we were BACK HOME wasn’t fun!

My in-laws had gotten a ride to St. George and generously lent us their five seater SUV. My husband was not sad to have to ride his bike! In Cedar City, Gary noticed his motorcycle tire treads were completely worn down, a potentially deadly risk on a bike. A repair we had planned on for next spring needed to be done immediately. Naturally, the tires needed to be ordered and we would have to leave our final working mode of transportation 250 miles from home! Naturally.

With some vehicle juggling with Gary’s awesome family, we were able to enjoy our time in St. George and even get home again. We’re continuing to abuse Gary’s parents’ generosity by using an old stick shift vehicle of theirs, and since Gary is so busy with work and I don’t drive a stick anyway, his mom has even taken me grocery shopping.

After a lot of prayer, we made the rather difficult decision to repair the Suburban (hopefully, we still haven’t gotten a quote!) and wait until spring to buy a vehicle. Gary will continue to use the loaned car until then. It’s so hard not buying things we feel like we need for our family! Buying a decent, safe, and reliable vehicle IS a need… But one that will have to wait a while longer. Until the Suburban is repaired, I will be without a car again!

We do feel blessed to have family nearby who can help us as needed. (I should note, my parents have helped where they can despite their distance from us.) We are especially grateful that we haven’t been forced into buying a vehicle we can’t afford, or buy a cheap vehicle that prevents us from buying a nicer car sooner rather than later. It is a little hard to be grateful for vehicles that aren’t as nice as we’d like, but as we tell our kids, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit! 

What’s your worst family vacation travel story? 

Homeschooling by the Seat of my Pants + a Halloween Countdown Chain

Homeschooling by the Seat of my Pants

As of right now, I have no idea what we’re doing as far as ‘homeschool.‘ I’m switching up some of my curriculum plans and trying some new things out. For now, we’re just sort of homeschooling by the seat of my pants.

What’s that mean? It means I’m making it up as I go, naturally. Take this Halloween Countdown Chain activity:

On a whim, we made a Halloween countdown chain. I loved to do this as a child. You simply count how many days left until something exciting–Halloween in this case–and make a paper chain. Cut strips of colored construction paper into 1 inch strips. Staple, or glue, on strip of paper into a circle. Loop your next circle through the previous circle, and staple that. Then continue until you have the number of days remaining until your holiday or vacation. Each day, tear off one strip and count again!

To qualify this as a ‘learning’ activity, just look at the following. We:

  • increased calendar awareness by counting how many days until Halloween
  • practiced counting numbers above twenty
  • did basic division by figuring out how many of each color we needed to cut (I needed 13 strips of each color for our 26 days)
  • could have practiced scissor skills but Mommy used a paper cutter instead :)
  • reinforced counting by counting our paper strips to ensure we had enough
  • used motor skills to work the stapler
  • discussed geometry by creating circles and discussed (uh, something) by making a chain
  • used team work to share the stapler and help a younger sibling
  • talked about cultural awareness by discussing Halloween colors
  • used math by counting down each day
  • practiced patience and forgiveness when sibling tore five circles off the next day and we put them back together
  • recognized sharing and taking turns while we switched off who got to tear off the circle for the day
Look at all those skills we worked on! With very little forethought or effort, we completed an entire math lesson in a single activity. Some days, that’s okay. Some days, a little craft activity with the slightest effort towards making it ‘educational’… some days, that’s enough.


FHE Made Easy: October Week 4

This lesson, on the Jaredites leaving Babylon, includes a fun object lesson/activity. Un-Slacker Moms could paint rocks white as a ‘prayer rock’ or a ‘testimony rock,’ but the rest of us are going to keep it real with a simple sheet-tent and a flashlight. (I need a word for ‘un-slacker mom’ that doesn’t make the rest of us want to cry in bed all day…) You may want to remind older kids that this story of the Jaredites happened long before Lehi and his family left Jerusalem. The records were found in the latter part of the Book of Mormon, and Mormon stuck the Book of Ether in according to when the people re-discovered the record. And uh, that’s all I can remember without actually opening the Book of Mormon.

Week 4: Jaredites are Led to the Promised Land

New to my family home evening lessons? FHE Made Easy is a simple to use curriculum for the ‘slacker mom’ in us all: the mom who is busy or too tired to think of a family home evening lesson for her family at the end of a long weekday. Each week I post a new lesson and with little to no prep, you are ready to go. Tablet and iPad friendly, these lessons are also available to purchase for only $10 for the entire year!

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